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Leading items and editorials

Unix sucks. Or, at least, that's what Miguel de Icaza had to say in his opening keynote speech at the Ottawa Linux Symposium. This talk was, as he put it, "designed to insult everybody," and it may well have succeeded. Certainly Miguel, who has always been an energetic speaker who is unafraid of speaking his mind, was in fine form at OLS.

[Miguel] According to Miguel, free software does not yet have much to be proud of. We have still not provided a complete free software system, which addresses the needs of most users. There's not much in the way of new ideas, everything has been inspired by Unix. And, as we have noted, Miguel thinks that Unix sucks. (If you are thinking that GNOME sucks, however, it's probably "because you are using Red Hat's version.")

Unix is said to suck because it has long since ceased to be a platform for innovation. Unix, says Miguel, is stagnant. Unix's problems come from its longstanding approach of not deciding policy. The kernel does not decide policy; neither does the C library, the X libraries, or the window system in general. The people who decided that X users could pick their own window manager created a situation where there were many, many window managers to choose from; "they were smoking crack."

The Unix approach of not deciding policy is "a defense system for hackers," since that way nobody has to take responsibility for a bad decision.

But the real problem, according to Miguel, is that the Unix approach does not lead to any sort of significant code reuse. A list of modern applications was presented; it included names like Netscape, Acrobat, FrameMaker, StarOffice, and others. The amount of code sharing between those applications was pointed out as being almost zero. About the only thing they share is the C library, which does not provide much. A number of obviously common services (printer configuration and use was a favorite example) had been completely reimplemented for each application. The result is duplicated work and inconsistent interfaces. Things should not be that way.

Miguel is an open admirer of how Microsoft does software development. Microsoft's applications are built from components, which are highly reusable. That not only helps Microsoft; it enables independent developers to make use of high-level components from Office, Internet Explorer, and other applications. Linux has no equivalent set of components, and suffers from a much lower level of code reuse.

The mission of the GNOME project, at this point, is to change that situation. Thus the whole "Bonobo" system for defining and sharing components in a language-independent way. If Miguel has his way, Linux will soon have a set of high-level components of its own, and will be well on its way toward developing a collection of modern, user-friendly applications.

And, in fact, this component collection is going to get a jump start because....

StarOffice is to be released under the GPL. Sun took a step toward truly free software this week with the announcement that StarOffice, acquired by Sun last year, is to be released under the GPL. This is an interesting donation by Sun, especially when one looks at what the plans for this code are.

But first, why is Sun releasing the code? Since it became freely downloadable, StarOffice, one can presume, has not generated a great deal of revenue. So Sun is not losing much by opening up the source license. But, more importantly, Sun is presumably hoping that this move will help to make StarOffice the dominant office suite on the Linux platform. If (1) Linux continues to make progress on the desktop, and (2) Microsoft is sufficiently slow in making Office available, the holder of the desktop office suite standard, if there is one, could be in a good position. If StarOffice ends up with a good number of desktop users, it will enable Sun to press forward with its web-based version which, of course, will require lots of expensive Sun servers.

Should the free software community be pleased with this contribution? Certainly it is hard to get too upset about more code being available. With luck, some of the easier "bugs and bloat" problems can be dealt with by the user community, and perhaps parts of StarOffice will be useful in other applications. Gnumeric, for example, may be able to benefit through the inclusion of some of StarOffice's spreadsheet code.

But StarOffice is a great monster of a program. It's "do everything in one place" philosophy goes against everything that a good Unix utility is supposed to be: compact, reliable, and easily interfaced with other tools. StarOffice brings its own file formats, it works poorly with other X tools, and generally expects to be a world unto itself. It can be very frustrating to work with.

But consider the other interesting part of the StarOffice release: the code is going to be reworked, integrated with Bonobo and GTK, and released as a set of reusable components. If you are a GNOME programmer looking to put together a powerful application, you will be able to pick and use any pieces of StarOffice that your application needs. The result is likely to be an explosion of new, user-centric applications for Linux.

StarOffice will also be reworked to use a set of open, XML-based file formats, which is also a cause for celebration.

It's worth keeping in mind as well that the free software community doesn't always deal well with a sudden infusion of corporate code. Mozilla, unfortunately, is a classic example. For all the promise that Mozilla has, two years later very few people are using its code. While nothing is certain, StarOffice could well take a similar path. It is, according to the announcement, the largest single piece of GPL code out there. Getting a handle on all that will be a challenge. Just because it is open source does not mean that it will be successful. The fact that Collab.Net is being brought in to manage the code is a good sign, however.

Sun appears to be trying to do this right. The use of the GPL means that StarOffice code can be integrated with other applications. But breaking the code into components and integrating into GNOME means that many applications can be built without having to use the code directly. In the future, it may not be StarOffice itself which affects the life of Linux users; instead, it may be the wealth of applications built from its pieces. It will be interesting to see how this goes.

For more from the Ottawa Linux Symposium, see Jon Corbet's reports from the show.

On to other interesting tidbits this week .... SCO may be purchased by Caldera, reports this ZDNet article. This is reminiscent of some predictions that one of the post-IPO Linux companies would pick up SGI. SCO has been around for almost twenty years and has a long track record. Now it might be purchased by a veritable "upstart". Nonetheless, this looks like a potential good match. SCO's emphasis on reseller channels matches Caldera's long-term philosophy and their support services would put Caldera on a much better footing in competition with Red Hat, particularly in the international markets.

Meanwhile, the rumored price, $70 million in stock, seems incredibly small given the prices for small Linux startups only a few months ago.

Complete rewrite planned for Perl 6. At the ongoing Perl Conference 4.0, a meeting of the perl5-porters list was held to discuss Perl's long-term future. As a result, Larry Wall and Nathan Torkington announced plans for a complete rewrite for Perl 6. Frustration has developed as Perl has become increasingly difficult to improve, extend, and embed. The core will be reimplemented, to improve speed, and they'll try to take the opportunity to remove "cruft" from the current implementation.

Simultaneously, they are trying to revamp the Perl development community as well. Personality issues caused problems on the perl5-porters list during the last development cycle -- changes will be implemented to try and change that. Perl will be moving from following Larry Wall's vision to becoming a community-driven development effort. That speaks for some pretty large potential growing pains. The alternative, though, would be to allow Perl development to stagnate.

Linux in the telephony market. At a presentation at a recent local LUG meeting, LWN editor Liz Coolbaugh was asked about Linux in the telephony arena. She had little to report at that time and therfore found this Upside article on the relicensing of over a million lines of code under the GPL in 1998. The code was from the now-defunct Ingate telephony company.

Apparently Ingate CEO Martin Clinton was introduced to the potential of free software by Rich Bodo, then working at VA Research. As a result, one of his last acts as CEO of Ingate was the release of much of their software under the GPL. Now Martin and Rich are co-founders of a new company poised to make use of the result. This is an excellent precedent for commercial companies; dumping years of software development efforts into a dust-bin is an incredible waste. Free software offers an alternative, which can provide future commercial potential out of commercial failures.

Inside this week's Linux Weekly News:

  • Security: Computer Security Insurance, OpenHack update.
  • Kernel: API changes, 2.4, and the release cycle.
  • Distributions: Immunix, Embedded Linux, more Linux plans in China.
  • Development: Documentation, Free Pascal, Galeon browser, mod-snake.
  • Commerce: CompTIA and Linux+ certification, Open Source Projects
  • Back page: Linux links, this week in Linux history, and letters to the editor
...plus the usual array of reports, updates, and announcements.

This Week's LWN was brought to you by:

July 20, 2000


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See also: last week's Security page.

News and Editorials

Computer Security Insurance. Counterpane Internet Security announced this week its plans to offer a "first-of-its-kind, comprehensive risk management insurance solution". This insurance is offered exclusively to customers of Counterpane, companies whose network are actively monitored by Counterpane for vulnerabilities and intrusions. It is offered through authorized insurance brokers and backed by Lloyds of London. Bruce Schneier provided details information on the insurance in Bruce Schneier's Crypto-Gram. Monitoring is done via the installation of a Linux server on the network.

PlanetIT picked up the story. They comment that such insurance is available from other companies, but generally requires regular auditing of company security by an outside source. "Regular security audits result in a list of the company's security holes that can be exploited if the list falls into the wrong hands. Moreover, those lists are generated at intervals and the problems must be corrected all at once, while Counterpane offers continuous monitoring and problems can be solved as they come up, Pescatore said."

The interesting thing about computer insurance is that it offers a real model for revenue generation without the reliance on selling commercial security software products. "Install all of our software on your network and you'll be secure" is a litany that you might hear from some security companies. How do you know you're secure as a result? What if you spend all that money and you still aren't secure? Bruce Schneier commented, "I have never believed that simply installing products will ever protect you, and have focused on the process of security."

Offering computer insurance, especially in the model initiated by Counterpane, has no dependence on the use or sale of security products. In fact, Counterpane will have a strong incentive, through the insurance model, to get highly effective monitoring for a minimum price. That makes free software tools a good choice.

Counterpane's offer is unique both to the security industry as a whole and to the fledgling Linux/free software portion of that industry, as they seek compatible revenue models. It will be watched closely, to determine its success, and, presuming such success, is likely to have a permanent impact on the industry.

RSA patent expiration. Several people asked for a confirmation or a date for the expiration of the RSA patent, mentioned in last week's Security Summary. Here is a URL where you can find this information. "RSA is patented under U.S. Patent 4,405,829, filed December 14, 1977, issued September 20, 1983, and held by RSA Security Inc.; the patent expires 17 years after issue (not 20 years after filing) on September 20, 2000."

OpenHack update. The first crack in the OpenHack competition has been reported, with lots of nice, gory details. The piece of software hacked was Mini Vend, a GPL'd, perl-based package now owned by Akopia. Akopia has already released fixes for the vulnerabilities that allowed the successful hack. Meanwhile, the contest continues, with the Web server, mail server and database as available targets.

Given the political nature of some previous contests ("Is Linux more secure than NT?"), the OpenHack contest has been refreshing so far, focusing primarily on the goal of providing incentive and recognition to the people who spend time and energy to find and report security vulnerabilities.

LinuxSecurity.com interviews Jay Beale. Jay Beale, the Lead Developer of the Bastille Project and author of several articles on Unix/Linux security is interviewed by LinuxSecurity.com. "Bastille can stop almost every single root grab vulnerability that I know of against Red Hat 6.x. In the case of the well-known BIND remote root vulnerability, we had secured against that one before it was even discovered"!

SecurityFocus provides HOPE 2000 coverage. SecurityFocus has been following this week's H2K / HOPE 2000 conference. Here are a couple of articles that they've published so far:

  • Hackers demo "Social" skills in NY, social engineering attacks, with some advice on protection against them from none-other-than Kevin Mitnick.

  • Robot Rebels at HOPE takes a look at a Graffitit-producing robot, and through it, at the major shift in this conference towards social activism and protest.

Security Reports

NFS/rpc.statd . Updated NFS packages are being issued after a format string vulnerability was found in rpc.statd, part of the NFS package. This is a nasty bug, which could allow a remote root compromise. An upgrade to is required to close the hole. Daniel Jacobowitz demonstrated the vulnerability and forwarded a "rant" from Chris Evans on this particular vulnerability:

The severity of this hole, i.e. remote root, is much greater than it should be. All the stupid daemon does is listen to requests on a network, and manage a few files.

Call the UNIX security model non-granular, and poor, but there's no way you need root to do that.

It's true that it requires a low-port (i.e. privileged) socket to send data on, as a way of gaining the trust of the remote (where remote is often the localhost). However, since it's a connectionless UDP socket, you can launch the daemon as root, grab the socket, and drop root.

Furthermore, the daemon is a prime candidate for chroot()'ing, but this is not done. The above plus a chroot() would limit the severity of this hole to a non-root shell without the ability to raise privilege by exec()'ing any suid-root binaries.

Finally note that rpc.statd is by no means the only daemon guilty of overprivilege like this. The neanderthal "use root" approach of most ftpd's is just asking for remote root trouble. Has no-one heard of distrusting privileged helpers?

Linux-Mandrake: new usermode packages. Linux-Mandrake reported a bug in usermode that can allow a non-privileged user to halt or reboot a machine. They have provided updated packages to fix the problem.

More ISC DHCP client problems. Pavel Kankovsky took a look at the official package updates for the ISC DHCP client, released in response to reports of a potential root vulnerability (BID 1388). He, in turn, mentioned his concerns that the updated code is still vulnerable. OpenBSD responded, indicating that their fix differed from the official ISC fix and is not vulnerable to the concerns Pavel raised. ISC reports they are currently working on a clean fix.

cvsweb 1.80 shell access vulnerability. Joey Hess reported a vulnerability in cvsweb 1.80 which can allow a user who has been given write access to use that privilege to gain shell access to the CVS host as well.

SuSE security update to nkitb. SuSE has issued a security update to nkitb which fixes a vulnerability in this package, which is installed by default on SuSE systems.

CGI script vulnerabilities.

Commercial products. The following commercial products were reported to contain vulnerabilities:


Kerberos buffer overflow. Check the June 15th Security Summary for details.


Immunix OS 6.2 released. Immunix OS 6.2 has been released. Based on Red Hat 6.2, all source-available programs have been recompiled with the StackGuard compiler. "The result is a system that is compatible with Red Hat Linux, but is protected against a majority of all Internet security attacks".

July 15th Crypto-Gram. The latest issue of Bruce Schneier's Crypto-Gram is now available. The feature article this month tackles the issue of Unicode security. As the number of potential input characters expands from 256 to 65536 and beyond, the difficulty of prevent input validation attacks will expand with it. "Unicode is just too complex to ever be secure."


ToorCon Computer Security Expo. The ToorCon Computer Security Expo will be held Labor Day weekend, September 1-3, 2000, in San Diego, California, USA.

Biometric Consortium 2000. Stephen Walker will be delivering the opening address at the upcoming Biometric Consortium 2000, scheduled for September 13 and 14, 2000, in Gaithersburg, MD, USA.

July/August security events.
Date Event Location
July 26-27, 2000. The Black Hat Briefings Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.
July 28-30, 2000. DEF CON VIII Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.
August 14-17, 2000. 9th Usenix Security Symposium Denver, Colorado, USA.
August 14-18, 2000. Ne2000 (Networking 2000) Lunteren, The Netherlands
August 18-20, 2000. Hack Forum 2000 Ukraine
August 20-24, 2000. Crypto 2000 Santa Barbara, California, USA
Aug 22-23, 2000. WebSec 2000 San Francisco, California, USA
For additional security-related events, included training courses (which we don't list above) and events further in the future, check out Security Focus' calendar, one of the primary resources we use for building the above list.

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

July 20, 2000

Secure Linux Projects
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Security List Archives
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Miscellaneous Resources
Comp Sec News Daily
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See also: last week's Kernel page.

Kernel development

The current development kernel release is 2.4.0-test4. See the diffstat listing for the full list of changed files; in summary, the patch includes the addition of support for Orion boards as another MIPS sub-architecture, a big update to the Microgate SyncLink ISA and PCI serial adapter driver, more ACPI code work, some PowerPC tweaks, a sizeable update to the memory technology device driver, and a number of other small tweaks.

There are already three 2.4.0-test5 prepatches out there, with the latest version being 712K in size. The majority of that patch seems to be codepage updates, though a large update to the bttv driver also accounts for some of it.

The current stable kernel release is 2.2.16. The 2.2.17 prepatch is up to 2.2.17pre13, released without announcement on July 16th. Here is Alan's announcement for 2.2.17pre12, which came out just a couple of days before that. Comparing the two, pre13 appears to mostly hold S390 changes.

Meanwhile, for those still working in the older world, David Weinehall has released the sixth prepatch to the 2.0.39 stable kernel release.

The Wonderful World of Linux 2.4. Joe Pranevich has put out the "final draft" version of his Wonderful World of Linux 2.4 document, which describes the changes to be found in the upcoming 2.4 kernel. Check it out for a comprehensive discussion of what's coming.

RTAI releases real-time Linux add-on for kernel 2.4.xx (LinuxDevices). RTAI, the "Real Time Application Interface", is a real-time extension for Linux. It is also now available for the 2.4 kernel series. "Paolo Mantegazza, RTAI project leader, says the new release 'is a relatively advanced porting of RTAI to the approaching Linux [kernel] 2.4.xx, both for [Intel-x86] and PowerPC architectures'. The current RTAI version supports kernel 2.3.99-pre6 and 2.4.0-test1".

API changes, 2.4, and the release cycle. It all started with this message from Alexander Viro, describing a change in the way a number of functions in the kernel are called. A number of methods that used to be called with the "big kernel lock" held, such as revalidate, readlink, follow_link, open, and release, will now be called without that lock. If they need the big kernel lock, it will be their responsibility to obtain it themselves.

The big kernel lock is a historical remnant from the early days of Linux symmetric multiprocessing (SMP). Back in 2.0, this lock was used to insure that only one processor was running kernel code at any given time. Organizing things that way made SMP easier to implement, but leads to contention problems even with two processors. Thus, later versions of the kernel have been slowly eliminating the big kernel lock in favor of more fine-grained schemes. The change under discussion here is another step in that direction.

The problem, of course, is that the kernel developers are supposed to be stabilizing things in hope of actually getting 2.4.0 out someday. Thus Alan Cox, among other developers, has asked that Linus refuse these changes in the interest of kernel stability. Linus has, however, listed his reasons for accepting the patch, and it is going in.

Hans Reiser, not one to miss an opportunity, has pointed out that adding ReiserFS is not a very big change compared to some others that are still going in.

The kernel developers will cope with this change, of course, and 2.4.0 will come out at some point. But the explicit goal of a shorter development cycle for 2.4 is clearly not coming to be. Linus seems to have a hard time making feature freezes stick; as he puts it himself, he's "a push-over and a wimp." So the new stuff keeps going in. There is little doubt that 2.4 will be a better kernel for all of the additional work, but it's also a much later kernel.

Some ideas have gone around on how to avoid these delays the next time. They include:

  • Start off a new development series "pre-frozen," with a complete list of the changes that will be accepted that time around. The problem, of course, is that free software development often doesn't work that way; a lot of good code happens because somebody sees something that needs doing and just does it. Having that sort of code rejected because it's not on the pre-approved list would be demoralizing at best.

  • Split the kernel into a number of separate pieces which could be released independently. Just as Linux distributions are managed independently of the kernel now, the core kernel could be released separately from, say, the networking code.

    The problem with this approach is that many kernel changes impact many areas of the code. The "big kernel lock" change, for example, requires that numerous drivers be updated, along with filesystem and networking code. Having all that code in one place makes the changes relatively straightforward; life would be harder if things got split apart. Linus did mention that "someday" the internal kernel interfaces may stabilize enough to enable such a split, but that day has not arrived.

Then, there is the simple idea of imposing feature freezes earlier, and, importantly, sticking to them. Linus has made it clear that he means business with the 2.4 freeze at this point:

I want you guys to look at your computer screen, imagining the worst monster you can (the cacodeamon from Quake will do, just make him hairier and bigger and more MEAN), and think of me. Think of me like I am when I see a patch which isn't a pure bug-fix.

If you're whimpering just _thinking_ about sending me a new feature, you're in the right mindframe. Keep that mindframe.

Alan Cox then took the opportunity to point out that Linus needs to grow a beard if he's going to pull off the "hairier" part...

Other patches and updates released this week include:

  • IBM has released drop nine of its Journaled File System for Linux. JFS is still very much in an alpha state.

  • iptables 1.1.1, part of the netfilter package, has been released by Rusty Russell and company.

  • usb-robot 0.1.4 has been released by John Fremlin. This package provides generic, scriptable control for USB devices. "It comes with a program (usb-robot-master) that translates traces of MS-Windows driver actions from the output of sniffusb version 0.1 into usb-robot-slave commands, so you can get your device to do whatever MS-Windows told it to."

  • Eric Raymond released cml2-0.7.0, the latest version of his kernel configuration and build system. Immediately thereafter Linus shipped 2.4.0-test4, so Eric followed up with cml2-0.7.1.

  • Stephen Tweedie released sard 0.6, a kernel patch and utility to perform disk profiling.

  • Lilo 21.5 was released, with new support for booting disks with greater than 1024 cylinders.

  • Jeff Dike has released 0.27-2.4.0-test4 of his user-mode Linux kernel.

Section Editor: Jonathan Corbet

July 20, 2000

For other kernel news, see:

Other resources:


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See also: last week's Distributions page.

Lists of Distributions
Woven Goods

Embedded Distributions:

BluePoint Embedded
Compact Linux
Embedded Debian
Hard Hat Linux
OnCore Systems
RedBlue Linux
Royal Linux
White Dwarf Linux

Familiar (iPAQ)
Intimate (iPAQ)
Linux DA


Please note that security updates from the various distributions are covered in the security section.

News and Editorials

Immunix OS 6.2 released. Immunix OS 6.2 has been released. Based on Red Hat 6.2, all source-available programs have been recompiled with the StackGuard compiler. "The result is a system that is compatible with Red Hat Linux, but is protected against a majority of all Internet security attacks".

For people who have a strong need for high security, the availability of Immunix for this up-to-date version of Red Hat Linux should be a real boon. StackGuard protects against buffer overflow attacks, the most common type of security vulnerability reported over the past few years. Since it is based on Red Hat, it should also be possible to run the Bastille hardening script over the system, if Immunix has not already been secured in such a manner.

Debate over the potential overhead of a StackGuard kernel has gone on for several years. In an upshot, the overhead may be very small or it may not. If you have a strong need for security, then a requirement for a faster or more powerful server may be a minor penalty to pay.

Shanghai appliance firms branch out to Linux (News.com). China and Linux continue to grow closer together. Here's a brief article in News.com about a Chinese company called Shanghai Shangling Electric Appliance, which is considering getting into the Linux distribution business. "The move would transform Shangling--a Shanghai-based home appliances maker that makes most of its money from selling refrigerators--into a computer company, in keeping with China's plan to push its biggest manufacturers into the technology age."

Outline your Linux priorities before choosing a distribution (TechRepublic). This registration-required article from TechRepublic passes on information from a Gartner Analysis. The focus is on why companies would choose to purchase Linux from a specific distributor, rather than just downloading it for free. It gives a brief feature comparison between Caldera, Red Hat, SuSE and TurboLinux. "However, before selecting any operating system, you should consider what you need the operating system for. Will you be using the OS for business-to-business purposes? Does the OS need to handle a large volume of Internet transactions? Outline the priorities of your organization and then compare the list with what the different Linux distributions offer, and the one you need will show itself." (Thanks to César A. K. Grossmann).

Minor change to our Distribution List. As you'll see when you look at the page, we've finally broken down and chosen one subset of Linux distributions, embedded Linux distributions, pulled them out of the larger list and placed them in the left-hand column. This is obviously being done partially due to the length of the list and also in response to reader requests. Additional subsets will be chosen eventually, based on the goal of identifying non-overlapping groups, something difficult to do with software as flexible as a Linux distribution. Embedded Linux is an area producing new distributions at an amazing rate lately. Given the number of commercial companies in that arena, and the potential that each of them could choose to release their "own" Linux distribution, it was an obvious choice for a first subset.

Minor Updates

New Distributions

Bluepoint debuts embedded distribution. Chinese distributor Bluepoint Linux Software has announced its entry into the embedded Linux arena with "Bluepoint Embedded." "Through substantial efforts in the research and development of Linux kernel, Bluepoint has made a break through in solving problems in the area of memory space and real time interaction."

Compact Linux. Compact Linux is another new embedded Linux distribution announced on Freshmeat July 12th. It also apparently goes by the nickname of "CX": "CX is a Compact linuX distribution intended for building flash-booting ramdisk-based systems where disk/system size and ruggedness is an issue. It can be configured for ramdisks from 8M to 100M+.

Caldera OpenLinux

Caldera announces computer-based training. Caldera announced today the availability of their new 'Quick Start To Linux' computer-based training (CBT). "Quick Start is self-paced with hands-on, guided demonstrations including the preparation of a Windows-based machine for a Linux installation, the install itself and the navigation of Linux desktops. In addition, Caldera's Quick Start CBT identifies business solutions using Linux while providing historical Linux information."


Capital Infusion Fuels Brazil's Conectiva (LinuxNews). This LinuxNews article provides more information on recent cash infusions in Conectiva. "One of the investors fueling this fire is Intel Capital. Intel's venture branch was formed in the early 1990s, both as a way of ensuring the company's ability to deliver its own products and as a means of investing in companies that filled the gaps in Intel's product line, an Intel statement said".


Hurd News. The July 12th edition of the Kernel Cousin Debian Hurd mentions the announcement of new gnumach and hurd packages. gnumach 1.2-3 and hurd-20000703 are now available for testing.


LuteLinux acquired by Argent Resources. A company called Argent Resources has announced that it will be acquiring LuteLinux, a recently-founded Linux distributor.

Now, a look at Argent's web page might raise some eyebrows: "Argent Resources is an eleven-year-old company that has been reactivated under new management to seek new business opportunities. The focus in the last year has been on mineral exploration projects in Mexico; prevailing market conditions have hindered Argent's efforts in this direction." So much for mining, why not try Linux?

This is, of course, one of those "reverse takeover" deals. Argent has a publicly-traded stock, but no business. LuteLinux has, with luck, a viable business; this way it gets to go public without all the fuss. LuteLinux will dominate the resulting company, with 10 million of the 17 million outstanding shares.

Rock Linux

Rock Linux has announced the Rock Linux Bugzilla. They now request that bugs and patches be submitted here, instead of to the mailing list.

Slackware Linux

SlackReiser 4. SlackReiser 4 has been released. This set of disks supports installation of Slackware onto a Reiserfs partition. This new version has been pgrade to linux-2.2.16 and reiserfs 3.5.23.

SuperSlack. SuperSlack is a modified version of ZipSlack. It can be used to boot off a SuperDisk diskette.

Yellow Dog Linux

Tech briefs (Denver Rocky Mountain News). Terra Soft and Yellow Dog Linux picked up an award this week, one of six Northern Colorado (USA) "Innovation Quotient Awards".

Embedded Linux

The week's overview. As we mentioned above, Embedded Linux is an area that is producing a large volume of new distributions, and, as a result, a large amount of press about those distributions and the companies that own them. Here are a few highlights from this week:

Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh

July 20, 2000

Please note that not every distribution will show up every week. Only distributions with recent news to report will be listed.

Caldera OpenLinux
Debian GNU/Linux
Red Hat

Also well-known
Best Linux
Conectiva Linux

Rock Linux

Non-technical desktop
Icepack Linux
Redmond Linux

Boston University
Red Escolar

General Purpose
Alzza Linux
aXon Linux
Bad Penguin Linux
Black Cat Linux
BluePoint Linux
BYO Linux
CAEN Linux
Cafe Linux
ChainSaw Linux
Circle MUDLinux
Complete Linux
Console Linux
Corel Linux
Darkstar Linux
Elfstone Linux
ESware Linux
Eurielec Linux
eXecutive Linux
Fried Chicken
HA Linux
Halloween Linux
ix86 Linux
Lanthan Linux
Linpus Linux
Linux Cyrillic Edition
Linux MLD
LinuxOne OS
Linux Pro Plus
LNX System
Lute Linux

NoMad Linux
Omoikane GNU/Linux
PingOO Linux
Plamo Linux
Project Ballantain
Rabid Squirrel
Root Linux
Serial Terminal
TimeSys Linux/RT
Tom Linux
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News and Editorials

Transitioning developers to Linux

Many of us in the Linux world have been relying on the operating system exclusively for a long time. It's easy to forget that the majority of computer software developers are only familiar with other platforms, mostly Windows and Macintosh. As Linux becomes more widely used, there will be more and more people coming over from other camps with certain expectations of what a computer is supposed to do for them. Easy to use desktop systems such as KDE and Gnome will go a long way towards helping people from other platforms feel at home. Fortunately, these new desktops also have a lot of "cool features" that will attract techies over to Linux.

The building and installation of open-source software is another matter. One rule of programming is that the documentation can always be improved. This is especially true with regards to educating new Linux users. A great program may go unused if few people can figure out how to get it up and running. Introductory documentation is very important for new users, yet it is often neglected. Good introductory info should tell the user what the program does, how to perform the installation, how to use the program once it is installed, and where to go for more detailed information. It is suprising how many projects lack some of this basic information. Project maintainers would do well to find an uninitiated person to do a test installation, such a person would likely ask questions that could ultimately be turned into better documentation. As the level and consistency of Linux documentation improves, the experiences of new users should also become better.

Along those lines, the Open Documentation Summit was a pre-conference meeting to the Open Source Convention. Eight hours long, it focused on improving the documentation that accompanies open source software, reports O'Reilly. Participants included representatives from the Linux Documentation Project, GNOME, KDE, FreeBSD, BSDI, SourceForge, Samba, OASIS, Los Alamos National Labs, Python, and Open Content.

"The major conclusion reached by attendees was to standardize on DocBook/XML as the canonical format for open source documentation. The role of DocBook, however, is to be the storage and exchange format. Different projects will use it in different ways, but all will provide some form of their documents in a standard DocBook format".

Also, speaking of Linux documentation, Rick Lehrbaum from Linux Devices asks a panel of experts the question What is Linux and gets a variety of answers, most agree that among other things, "Linux is whatever Linus says it is.


Mozilla M16 Review (Duke of URL). Patrick Mullen has taken the time to do a more in-depth comparison of Mozilla M16, Netscape 6 and Internet Explorer 5, complete with screen shots of the same website loaded from the different browsers. He picks out lack of plug-ins, Java support and some missing protocols (https, for example) as key problems in the current release, but also pinpoints some of its strengths. "It appears to render HTML 4.0 much better than even the latest IE 5.5, and does so much faster, as usual...Although, to really behold Mozilla's power, take it on a 56 K dial-up connection and watch it make mince-meat out of the competition."

Galeon Web Browser (Linux Planet). Linux Planet's Michael Hall has written a sneak preview of the Galeon Web Browser. Galeon is a minimal size, high speed browser that is based on the Mozilla Gecko rendering engine. "Because of some licensing issues with Mozilla itself, it's not possible, according to the galeon team, to distribute the crucial gtkmozembed.h file required to make the browser run, so users may either download the entire Mozilla source package (17MB for the bzipped version of the archive) or the devel RPM (1.9MB)."

Mozilla status update for July 14, 2000. The latest Mozilla status update is now available. Topics discussed are LDAP, XPToolkit, Necko/Imglib, XML/DOM, and NSS.

German version of mozillaZine. Claus Augusti is now producing a German version of mozillaZine called mozillaZine.de. This is a translation of the English mozillaZine with a few extra articles thrown in for good measure.


InterBase Beta License Extension. InterBase has extended its 6.0 beta license until August 1, 2000. Interbase is distributed under the Interbase Public License.

Zope-Interbase Connectivity with gvibDA. A new Zope Database Adapter for Interbase known as gvibDA is now available from Zope.org. GvibDA is licensed under the Zope ZPL.

Device Drivers

Get those boards talking under Linux (EDN). EDN has run a pair of articles on writing Linux device drivers for data acquisition hardware by Alex Ivchenko of United Electronic Industries. Part 1 gives an overview of device drivers and discusses driver initialization. Part 2 discusses interrupts and system memory allocation. " Linux is now an attractive alternative to Windows, especially among engineers who roll up their sleeves and type at the command line. Linux offers a stability you just can't get with Windows 95/98 or even Windows 2000. As a result, the demand for Linux systems and compatible peripherals is mushrooming. "


Linux For Kids. The Linux For Kids site is undergoing a domain name change involving a move from .com to .org. The site now includes Spanish and Portugese translations. Several new kid-level games have also been announced there.

SEUL/edu Linux in Education Report. The SEUL/edu Linux in Education Report for July 17 is out. Topics include several interesting chemistry related programs, school networking, and discussions about computers in education.

Mexican Linux Program Sees Red (Linux Mall). Linux Mall's Michele Head has written an article on the Red Escolar project which aims to distribute Linux around the Mexican school system. "In starting the Red Escolar Linux branch of the project as a free software venture, 'the primary reason for reaching this decision was the kind of money we would have had to pay if we went for proprietary software,' the project's FAQ explaned. 'At $55 for each machine with Win98 and Office, $500 for every NT license and anaverage of six workstations and one server for 140,000 labs, that's a lot of money.' Upgrade expense is also a consideration."


Using Serial Line LCD displays under Linux (Linux Focus). Linux Focus has run an article by Guido Socher that details how to make a Serial LCD Display work under Linux. This is useful information for people who are building embedded Linux devices without a CRT display.

Embedded Systems

Embedded Linux Expo & Conference. The second Embedded Linux Expo and Conference will be held October 27, 2000 in Westborough, MA. There is an open call for papers for this conference. Linux Devices has posted an Overview of the conference.

BusyBox utility suite for Embedded Linux. Lineo has released version 0.46 of BusyBox, a suite of utilities that are tailored for embedded systems. " BusyBox includes the functions of many common UNIX utilities within a single small executable. It thereby provides a fairly complete command environment for small or embedded systems, allowing embedded system developers to minimize hardware costs while maintaining a reasonable degree of functionality." BusyBox is distributed under the GPL license.


Wine Weekly News for July 17, 2000. This week's Wine Weekly News is out. Wine 20000716 has just been released. Other topics include replacing windows, benchmarking wine, and the Evolution configuration tool.

Network Management

OpenNMS Development Report. The latest report from the OpenNMS network management project is now available. "Weave is spending a lot of the time filling up white boards, swearing under his breath, and drinking heavily. Oops. Strike that. He's actually been swearing out loud, and usually at me. But then again, you've pretty much got to take a number to swear at me around the office..."

Network Utilities

Bind 9.0.0rc1 released. The latest version of Bind 9, the internet name daemon software is being distributed as a release candidate. If you are on the cutting edge of DNS, you may want to experiment with this.

Office Applications

Gtik: stock ticker. The first stable version of the new Gtik stock ticker applet for the Gnome panel has been released.

Burn-In for the Gimp. Burn In is a new script-fu plugin for the Gimp that is used to animate text with a moving blur effect. This looks like a fun tool to play with.

AbiWord Weekly News (July 12th). Last week's AbiWord Weekly News came in too late for our weekly edition, yet got overlooked the next day for the daily page. It looks like they are making progress towards a 1.0 release.

On the Desktop

KDE 2.0 Release Schedule. Another version of the KDE 2.0 release schedule has been released. Only 7 weeks until KDE 2.0 is scheduled to be available.


The Future of Free Software in Health Care(Health Informatics). Douglas Carnall has written an article on Free Software in Health Care which discusses the advantages of the open source model. "The success of the approach is perhaps the defining moment of the 21st century. Politically, it suggests that open collaboration on networks beats hierarchies: technically it suggests that a distributed development method produces more reliable software than any proprietary quality assurance department could hope to find; and socially it is encouraging too: it is a model in which programmers gift their skills to a worldwide community, confident in the expectation that their efforts will be returned 1000-fold. And if they need to solve 'the peanut butter and jelly problem' (meet living expenses) they can find as much or as little highly paid Unix systems administration work as they care to tackle. Another alternative is to set up in business providing services such as installation, customisation, documentation and support for the free software that they have mastered."

Web-site Development

Zope 2.2 released. The final Zope 2.2 release has been announced. It includes a number of new goodies, including security fixes, a new online help system and a built-in user tutorial, better performance, ane more.

Digital Creations has also announced the new dev.zope.org site, which is intended to provide better access to the Zope development process.

Section Editor: Forrest Cook

July 20, 2000

Project Links
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More Information



Development tools


A custom utility class for JavaHelp software (IBM). Marshall Lamb from IBM has written an article on A custom utility class for JavaHelp software. The article discusses the Writing of a portable help utility based on the JavaHelp package.


Perl Conference 4.0. The Perl Conference 4.0 is happening this week. Use Perl has submitted reports on Day one and Day three of the event.

One important announcement that came from the conference is that Larry Wall is planning a Complete Rewrite for Perl 6.


Free Pascal 1.0 released. Version 1.0 of the FreePascal compiler is now available.


CP4E needs new sponsor (O'Reilly). The CP4E (Computer Programming For Everybody) project may be abandoned due to funding problems, the project is looking for a new sponsor.

Python Enhancement Proposals. Barry A. Warsaw has set up a system for submitting Python language enhancement suggestions using Python Enhancement Proposals or PEPs. This step should help to formalize the process of changing the language.

Aquarium web framework in Python. A new open-source web site development framework called Aquarium is now available. Aquarium provides a modular approach to the design of web applications. The license for Aquarium is modeled after the BSD license.

Mod Snake. Mod Snake 0.2.0 has been released, it is a plug-in to Apache 1.3 and 2.0 that enables the development of Apache modules with Python. Mod Snake is distrubuted under a BSD style license.

This week's Python-URL (July 18). Andrew M. Kuchling released this week's Python-URL. Hot topics: Python compiled to generate C# code?, formalized enhancements process, "Visual Python" and more ...

Section Editor: Forrest Cook

Language Links
IBM Java Zone
Perl News
Daily Python-URL

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Linux and Business

CompTIA, LPI and SAIR collaborate on Linux+ certification . It was interesting to find both LPI and SAIR Linux, current competitors in the Linux certification arena, in the same press release. In this case, CompTIA, a not-for-profit trade association, has chosen to work with both of them to develop Linux+, a vendor-neutral Linux certification, to join its other certification programs. "Partnering with the Linux Professional Institute (LPI) and Sair, CompTIA will bring Caldera and other major industry vendors and customers together to create a globally accepted benchmark certification for Linux."

Open Source Projects. This week we saw several announcements pertaining to Open Source projects. There was Sun's announcement about releasing StarOffice under the GPL (see this week's front page).

LinuxDevices reported that Scyld Computing released a Linux driver for the CATC NetMate USB-to-Ethernet Link under the GPL.

10 weeks after the Jabber instant messaging system was released under the GPL, Jabber.com announced that over 5,000 Jabber servers have been installed.

Lutris Technologies has announced enterprise support for the Enhydra Java/XML applications server. Enhydra is an Open Source project. Lutris also sells Enhydra Professional 3.0.

The Free Standards Group released second test suite. A second test suite of the LSB test program has been announced by the Free Standards Group: LSB-VSX 1.0-1. "The LSB-VSX test suite is a version of The Open Group's VSX-PCTS, being used as part of the Linux Standard Base test program. This version of the VSX-PCTS has been setup to autoconfigure on Linux systems. A front end script install_wrapper.sh is used to auto install, setup and run the test suite."

Network Appliance Announces NFSv4 Grant. Network Appliance has announced the awarding of an (unspecified) grant to the University of Michigan to support the development of version 4 Network File System code for Linux.

TurboLinux releases EnFuzion clustering system. TurboLinux has announced the release of "EnFuzion", its new clustering system. Among other things, it claims to run most applications without modification, which would be a big improvement over standard Beowulf clusters. The price tag is $5000; more information on TurboLinux's EnFuzion page.

IDC on the client OS market. IDC has issued a pronouncement on the future of the client (desktop) operating system market; they think that Microsoft will continue to dominate there. "IDC believes Linux will continue to make inroads into the market, but not enough to alter the market segmentation significantly. COE revenues generated from Linux and other Open Source environments will increase from $36.9 million in 1999 to $93.3 million in 2004."

Press Releases:

Open Source Products.
Unless specified, license is unverified.

  • Akopia Inc. (RESTON, Va.) announced that it has released a developers preview of the Akopia Interchange e-commerce platform.

  • Invisible Worlds, Inc. (MONTEREY, Calif.) announced the launch of BXXP.org, a community web site for developers.

  • OpenAvenue (SCOTTS VALLEY, Calif.) announced the release of the Second Edition of OAsis(TM) (OpenAvenue Source Infrastructure System). OAsis is a collaborative development infrastructure delivered via the Web, using an "open-source process".

  • OpenSourceCRM.org (SAN DIEGO) announced that its outbound email campaign system, KeyFactor, now supports hosting its datamart on PostGreSQL, the open source object-relational data base.

Commercial Products for Linux.

  • Chilliware, Inc. (LOS ANGELES) announced five products designed to support the growing base of Linux users. The Mohawk Server Configurator is based on the Apache Server Application for Linux. The Nexxus Contact Manager enables the user, at home or office, to open the contact desktop and work from any application. There's also Sculptor Desktop Publisher, Xtreme Ice Operating System (a Linux distribution), and Mentor Developer's Tools.

  • IDEAS International Pty Limited. (SYDNEY, Australia) researched a major new section for CPService that compares the Linux Support Services offerings for a broad spectrum of companies.

  • PC-Doctor (EMERYVILLE, Calif.) announced PC-Doctor for Linux, a Linux-based hardware diagnostic tool supporting most CPUs including IA32, IA64, and RISC.

  • Samco Software Inc. unveiled back-2-basics (b2b) the newest member of the Samco product family, designed to meet the basic sales and accounting needs of the small retailer using a Linux server based system.

Products Using Linux.

  • InsynQ (TACOMA, Wash.) announced the availability of its Linux-based InterLynQ Internet Appliance Server for commercial distribution in conjunction with its Web-based computing services.

  • LinuxWizardry Systems, Inc. (BOCA RATON, Fla.) announced Magic Passage, a new Virtual Private Network (VPN) Internet Appliance which uses the Apprentice Command Center interface to configure secure access through the Internet.

  • Macmillan (INDIANAPOLIS) announced Windows 7.1, the latest update to their Linux for Windows product is currently available in stores.

  • NetZero (WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.), a provider of advertising and commerce-supported Internet access, today that it will be packaged with the New Internet Computer, or NIC. The NIC uses NetZero's Linux-based Z3 software.

  • Portal PC is a "bare bones" computer with Linux.

  • Rebel.com has announced the release of NetWinder OfficeServer 2.0, which includes a new virtual private network (VPN) capability.

  • Shuffle Master, Inc. (LAS VEGAS) announced that its newest video slot machine game, Press Your Luck, has been recommended for approval by the Nevada Gaming Control Board. The game runs on a PC board using the Company's internally developed, Linux-based, slot machine operating system.

  • VA Linux Systems, Inc. (SUNNYVALE, Calif.) announced the availability of the VA Linux 9008 2U (3.5") storage enclosure system.

Products with Linux Versions.

  • Chemical Computing Group Inc. (CCG) (MONTREAL) announced that CCG's Molecular Operating Environment (MOE) has been ported to all HP platforms, including Linux workstations.

  • Cobalt Networks, Inc. introduced the RaQ 4r, the fourth generation of the RaQ. The RaQ 4r offers a full suite of Internet and application services.

  • DALiM Software will soon launch the Linux version of three of their products. TWiST is a workflow automation and management application and LiTHO is a prepress interactive software package. These will have PDF 1.3 and PDF/X support. SWiNG is its new Linux-based Plug-and-Play workflow solution.

  • face2face (SUMMIT, N.J.), a Lucent Technologies Venture, announced that alterEGO is now available for immediate download on a limited introductory basis. The company's software is designed for the automated lip synchronization and facial animation of characters within television and film production, electronic game and advanced Internet animation applications.

  • JNI Corporation and Brocade Communications, Inc. (SAN DIEGO and SAN JOSE, Calif.) will collaborate on product development, service and support, and marketing and sales initiatives to advance the adoption of open Storage Area Networks (SANs) in enterprise environments.

  • Kaydara (MONTREAL, Quebec) announced that it has completed the port of FiLMBOX, its real-time character animation system, to Red Hat Linux V6.2.

  • The PCI Industrial Computer Manufacturers Group (PICMG) (WAKEFIELD, Mass.) released its first software-focused specification, the CompactPCI(R) Hot Swap Infrastructure Interface Specification, denoted PICMG 2.12.

  • Plesk (CHANTILLY, Va.) announced its release of Plesk Server Administrator 1.3 (PSA) software, a web-based server management tool for UNIX- and Linux- based servers.

  • Tech Soft America (TSA) (ALAMEDA, Calif.) announced release 2.0 of the free ParaHOOPS 3D Part Viewer.

  • Tracer Technologies, Inc. (BURLINGAME, Calif.) and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. announced that Tracer's Magna software for DVD-RAM stand-alone drives and MagnaVault software for DVD jukeboxes will support the forthcoming release of Panasonic's second-generation rewritable DVD drives.

Java Products.

  • ErgoTech Systems, Inc. (LOS ALAMOS, N.M.) announced the release of its Java OPC (OLE for Process Control) Gateway.

  • File Rogue is a new, free Distributed File Sharing Application.


  • No Starch Press announced THE LINUX PROBLEM SOLVER by Brian Ward.

  • O'Reilly announced that the Computer Press Association (CPA) has awarded top honors to "PalmPilot: The Ultimate Guide, 2nd Edition", by David Pogue, and "The Cathedral and the Bazaar: Musings on Linux and Open Source by an Accidental Revolutionary", by Eric S. Raymond.

  • O'Reilly & Associates announced the release of "CGI Programming with Perl" by Scott Guelich, Shishir Gundavaram, and Gunther Birznieks.

  • O'Reilly & Associates announced Safari: O'Reilly Books Online, a "knowledge interface" that provides search and navigation across O'Reilly titles.

  • Sair, Inc. (OXFORD, Miss.) announced that global publisher John Wiley & Sons, Inc. will publish a second series of test preparation guides for the Sair Linux and GNU Certification program.


  • Axis Communications (LUND, Sweden) announced that it has become an Associate Member of the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG). Axis released an open source Bluetooth driver for Linux, under the GPL (Gnu Public License).

  • Caldera Systems Inc. and Tarantella Inc. (OREM, Utah & SANTA CRUZ, Calif.) announced the first bundling of Tarantella Web-enabling software with the Caldera OpenLinux Application Server.

  • Crossport Systems (BELLEVUE, Wash.) and Lineo, Inc. announced a strategic partnership based on the Crossport Systems broadband security software and the Lineo NETtel family of VPN Internet routers. The resulting solutions will provide a simple, secure method of accessing the Internet over DSL and cable modem connections.

  • Enlighten Software Solutions, Inc. (SAN MATEO, Calif.) announced an alliance with TeamLinux Corporation. The partnership features the integration of Enlighten's EnlightenDSM with the TeamLinux strategic suite of professional services.

  • RSA Security Inc. (BEDFORD, Mass.) announced that Covalent Technologies, Inc., a provider of Apache Web server e-commerce solutions, has licensed RSA BSAFE(R) SSL-C software for inclusion in its Raven SSL security module for the open-source Apache Web server platform.

  • SuSE Linux (NUREMBERG, GERMANY) announced it is expanding its Business Partner Program, offering worldwide co-marketing and support programs specifically targeting resellers and ISVs.

  • VMware, Inc. (PALO ALTO, Calif.) announced that Wind River Systems, Inc. has deployed VMware software to its development teams worldwide, to facilitate the port of the Tornado development environment to Linux.

  • Web Force Unlimited (HONG KONG, CHINA) announced an alliance with Linuxcare to provide consultancy services for Linix and other open source software.

Mergers and Acquisitions.

  • Cobalt Networks, Inc. (MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.) announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Progressive Systems, Inc., a privately held company that makes Linux-based network firewall solutions and appliances.

  • Net2Phone Inc. (HACKENSACK, N.J.) announced that it has acquired Aplio, S.A., which uses embedded Linux as its technology platform.

  • Omnis Technology Corporation (SAN CARLOS, Calif.) announced a preliminary agreement to merge with Irvine, Calif.-based PICK Systems, Inc., a private company and the owner of the PICK multi-dimensional database technology.

  • PICK Systems, Inc. (IRVINE, Calif.) put out their own press release on the merger with Omnis.

Financial Results.

  • Netgem (NEUILLY-SUR-SEINE) announced second quarter 2000 revenues of EU 24.4 million, a progression of 30.5% compared to first quarter revenues of EU 18.7 million. Netgem's technology operates on a Linux-based open software platform and a thin-client access device.


  • "Linux Evangelist" Dave McAllister joins 3ware, Inc.

  • Sair Linux, Inc. (MONTEREY, Calif.) introduced its newest Advisory Board members and charged the group with the responsibility of leading the continued growth of its training and certification program.

  • Splash Technology, supplier of Linux-based color print servers, announced that [Red Hat CFO] Harold Covert has been appointed to the Company's board of directors.

Linux/Open Source At Work.

  • Etnus (FRAMINGHAM, Mass.) announced the use of the TotalView Parallel Debugger by the Ohio state-wide network of computers, sponsored by OSC (Ohio Supercomputer Center). OSC had been a beta test site for TotalView 4.0 on Linux. After seeing the capabilities of the debugger and having received numerous requests for its use, they purchased TotalView for their state-wide network.

  • OpenSales, purveyors of leading open source e-commerce applications, announced their gain of a contract with Nutripeak, Inc., to integrate their fulfillment, physical storefront and e-commerce offerings. "'We chose OpenSales because of the vendor's ability to implement a complete solution at a fraction of the cost and time of proprietary offerings," said Barry D. Blake, CEO of Nutripeak, Inc. "Plus, the open source approach allowed us to freely evaluate the OpenSales AllCommerce source code before we made our decision, something that Oracle and other vendors were unable to offer'".

  • TurboLinux, Inc. (SAN FRANCISCO) announced that the MIT Sloan School of Management's annual Sloan Challenge business contest is powered by TurboLinux on IBM Netfinity hardware.

  • TurboLinux Inc. (SAN FRANCISCO) announced that J.P. Morgan & Co. Incorporated has deployed TurboLinux's EnFuzion software to help power the firm's worldwide risk management system for fixed income derivatives.


  • CUseeMe Networks (NASHUA, N.H.) has been awarded an Innovation award from TMC labs, publisher of Internet Telephony magazine. "TMC recognized CUseeMe Networks' suite of technologies for voice and visual communications, with special attention to its MeetingPoint server software and its CUseeMe World Web site. As stated by TMC's editor's, 'MeetingPoint's large feature set is commendable, and it works with virtually any conferencing system. MeetingPoint's use of the Linux operating system makes the product that much more impressive. It is this type of ingenuity that is required in this industry, and we award CUseeMe Networks for that reason.'"

  • ITsquare.com is an online B2B resource for custom software development solutions by providing clients with the means to connect and work with qualified software development firms (vendors) worldwide and offers more specialized software development in the following areas: Linux, Embedded, and Globalization software development.

  • SuSE Linux is extending its support services 24/7 x 365.

Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol.

July 20, 2000


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Linux in the News

Recommended Reading.

Red Herring takes a look at the impact of international politics on the battle between free software and traditional, closed source binaries. They discuss recent government trends in France, Brazil and China. "A number of foreign governments are considering making open-source code mandatory for all government computing systems. It's a powerful move. Government represents one of the technology industry's largest and most lucrative customer bases and often serves as a bellwether for the industry."


News.com takes a look at Progeny Linux. "Progeny, like Red Hat and other Linux companies, hopes to make money by selling services and support to companies that want a hand using Linux, [Bruce] Perens said. Progeny looks to be different from others by offering support for a new software package called Linux NOW, which stands for 'network of workstations.'"

CNet reports that Transmeta's IPO is fast approaching. "Transmeta, developer of a new chip for mobile computing that could challenge Intel, picked Morgan Stanley Dean Witter and Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown to arrange an initial public offering later this year, a person familiar with the matter said".

Palm Palm Technology, Korean developers of Tynux embedded Linux, announced a $6M investment in the firm. "The new funds will be used to further the company's research and development of its Embedded Linux system software, and for expansion of its business abroad including the United States, Japan, and China".

ZDNet reports on Sun's rumored plans to open-source StarOffice, releasing it under the GPL. "Releasing StarOffice under the GPL would be an important step for Sun, which has struggled with its Sun Community Source License. Several parts of the Java platform are available under SCSL, which allows developers to modify source code so long as it passes Sun's compatibility tests. Many developers find SCSL onerous, but Sun has argued that Java is not mature enough for a full open source license and that the installed base of Java applications is not large enough." (Thanks to Gary Shears).

CNet comments on Sun's rumored relicensing of StarOffice. This article mentions the use of potentially both the GPL and LGPL'd licenses; we'll have to wait for the official announcement tomorrow to be sure.

Here's an Upside article about Oracle's new NIC Internet appliance system. "The NIC is hard-drive free and, except for 4MB of Flash memory, memory-free. And most importantly, given that Ellison originally thought up the network computer in 1995 as a way to break Bill Gates' operating systems monopoly, it is completely Microsoft-free."

Newsbytes has this article from Comdex Canada covering Michael Cowpland's keynote there. "Cowpland said Corel is building on its existing presence in the Windows market - with some 50 million customers using its graphics and office productivity applications - by delivering Linux applications that look and feel exactly the same as its Windows software."

Corel Corp. CEO Michael Cowpland expects Corel to be back in the black, according to this article in the Ottawa Citizen. "'For the rest of the year, there's no more layoffs required,' Mr. Cowpland said in a brief interview after delivering a speech at Comdex 2000, a computer trade show.

He also said Corel would be back in the black in its fourth quarter. "

Here's the Montreal Gazette's take on Corel's plans to get back in the black. "The maker of CorelDraw and WordPerfect software said it will spend less on advertising and promotion by selling to computer manufacturers rather than through retailers. Computer-makers buy programs that are "bundled" and sold as a package with new computers. "

Here is an article from the Ottawa Citizen, reporting on a recent Corel SEC filing. "It said that if cost-cutting and new revenues fail to produce anticipated results, it may have to dip into the remaining reserves to meet operating capital needs after Sept. 30. It repeated earlier warnings that if the actions don't work, 'the company's ability to continue would be in substantial doubt and the going concern assumption ... may not be appropriate'".

Forbes looks at SCO's poor quarterly results and how the company may turn to Linux in an attempt to recover. "Sources say [SCO]'s working out an arrangement with France's MandrakeSoft to distribute its Linux-Mandrake operating system. SCO will use Linux-Mandrake as the base OS and add some features like clustering, which is a complex way to improve the performance and expansion of servers."

Here's an osOpinion piece speculating on the future of SCO. "The most likely scenario seems to have SCO spinning off Tarantella (probably as an immediate acquisition target), and looking for a Linux vendor to merge with the rest. If they could find some more VC cash, I think that TurboLinux could be a fairly straightforward candidate, as they could hone their focus in on Linux clustering, already their strongest point and a very promising market niche."


ZDNet takes a look at the money side of building a new business, something many free software entrepreneurs are experiencing first-hand. "There are no road maps to this fragmented world. But there are trailheads, compass points, and stories from fellow travelers, which we've assembled here to serve as your guide."

Upside reports on Lineo's deal with Hitachi. "'We tend to be OS agnostic,' says [Hitachi manager Prad] Sang. 'The reason we chose Lineo over other large companies such as Red Hat is because they seemed to be more focused on the consumer and embedded segment. Red Hat seems to have more of a server focus.'"

LinuxMall takes a look at the deal between Lineo and National Semiconductor. "But Lineo is far from being the only Linux-related company currently enjoying a partnership with National. In keeping with its perception of a "growing convergence of computing technologies with communications and consumer electronics to meet the rising demand for information access," National has courted a string of Linux companies starting in the fall of 1999, according to a company release. "

LinuxDevices.com has run this opinion piece on the new Japanese embedded Linux consortium. "The Tokyo announcement adds substantial impact to the already meteoric growth of the original Embedded Linux Consortium which, in just 120 days, has garnered support from nearly a hundred key embedded market players, including the likes of IBM, Motorola, and Red Hat."

The Irish Times has picked up this Lawrence Lessig piece against software patents. "The Americanisation of European patent law continues apace, with Germany's Supreme Court moving closer to the US practice of granting patents for software. This autumn, the European parliament will consider a proposal to extend the rule to the European Union as a whole. If the measure is approved, software in Europe, as in the US, will enjoy both the protection of copyright and patent law. But though the apparent beneficiaries of this change are software developers, those same developers are beginning to resist this expansion in their rights."

The first of the DVD trials, this one against Eric Corley, for posting the DeCSS software on the Internet, began today, reported CNet. "The defendant is not charged with developing the software or copying video disks himself; Corley is accused of posting the underlying source code of the program on the 2600 Web site, allowing other programmers to copy and use DeCSS".

The Chinese government moved its plans for Linux more directly into the open, according to this San Francisco Chronicle article. "``We don't want one company to monopolize the software market,'' said Chen Chong, a deputy minister of information industries who oversees the computer industry in China. With Linux, ``we can control the security,'' he added, so ``we can control our own destiny.''" Note: this is a free version of a 'registration required' article that ran last week.

trplayer is a command-line based RealMedia player from Matt Campbell, who also developed ZipSpeak Linux distribution. trplayer uses a command-line interface rather than a GUI interface to make the software fully accessible to the visually impaired. LinuxNews reported on the player. "Although Campbell prefers Linux for visually impaired users, he realizes that the OS isn't perfect. 'Some things still aren't available to blind Linux users, and I'm addressing this problem through trplayer,' he said. 'One reason why I prefer Linux in programming for blind people is that Linux has great promise for these people, but there are still some areas that need improvement, and I'd like to help.'"

Nicholas Petreley tries to figure out why he doesn't like Zope in this LinuxWorld article. "As much as I dislike using Zope, it always sounds so much better than Enhydra when I try to describe them. I can't help but feel that if I simply use Zope for another week, I'll become a Zope addict. But weeks go by and I'm still just as sour on Zope. Perhaps that magic week will come someday. I'll let you know."

GnuLinux.com has posted what could well be the quickest ever introduction to vi. "This by no means is an exhaustive list of vi commands, but it will definately [sic] get you started in learning the ins and outs of one of the most popular (and oft time, misunderstood) Linux text editors."

According to this Wired News article, the Free Software Foundation has petitioned ICANN to create a ".gnu" top level domain. "[FSF managing officer Timothy] Ney said the foundation currently hosts about 4,000 electronic mailing lists and is prepared to be the registrar for the .gnu domain. Under the proposal, the foundation would only grant domains to approved individuals or organizations. They would do so in exchange for a small fee."


Upside reports on the Linux software reviews controversy and a few other topics as well. "You know the dog days of summer are here when reporters and editors have nothing better to do than complain about rival media organizations. Chad Simonds, webmaster for Tucows Linux, gets credit for kicking off this week's most interesting flamefest with his article bemoaning the lack of objectivity in most online software reviews."

VAR Business talks with Mark Bolzern about LinuxMall.com. "Although Linux is becoming increasingly mainstream, much of the innovation that keeps it evolving comes from code writers who contribute their efforts to the greater good. This lack of compensation for work--and the occasionally eccentric characters who performed it--initially raised questions about whether Linux was ready for prime time. Now, said Bolzern, it's more accurate to ask whether enterprises are ready for Linux."

The Duke of URL has put up this article comparing NVidia and 3dfx video cards. He provides Linux-based benchmark comparisons between the GeForce2 GTS and two Voodoo cards. " 32 bpp tells much the same story, but the Voodoo5 actually beats the GeForce2 at 1600x1200! All this as a crippled card, since it only utilizes one of the VSA-100 processors. This fits the analogy perfect that many people use:The GeForce2 is a Ferarri, while the Voodoo5 is a monster truck."


Here's an article (in German) about the game Civilization 3 - Call to Power, Linux version, at zocks.de. Here's a Babelfish translation.

More games for Linux. CNN reports on the release of Sim City 3000: Unlimited, coming to Linux this summer, courtesy of Maxis, Sim City developers and Loki Software.

News.com reports on the Indrema game console. "But the company's success ultimately will rest on whether it can convince developers to write games. Here, too, the company is leaning on philosophy from the open-source community that collectively developed Linux, often with no profit motive whatsoever. Unlike current game consoles, developers will be able to offer programs nearly for free, paying only a fee to have programs certified..."


Richard Stallman has issued a response to comments about the GPL made by Warwick Allison of Troll Tech in a previous interview. "...Allison's implication that the GPL is meant to stop someone from making money is just plain wrong; in fact, the freedom to sell copies for a profit is part of the freedom that the GPL protects. Being for freedom and community does not mean being against profit."


KDE is 2 years old now and LinuxPlanet has this article wishing KDE a happy birthday. "However things turn out, the people of KDE have already achieved a very great deal. If you're one of the millions of happy KDE users, it might be a nice thing to take a minute today to drop a note to one or another of the KDE developers, just to say thanks."

Here's an osOpinion piece calling for the end of the X Window System. "Well, I hate to burst your bubble, folks: Linux (and even the FreeBSD to a lesser extent) is just as overweight as most other operating systems these days. The kernel alone (when compiled), can take up anywhere from 700K to 1.2MB, depending on the configuration and whether drivers are compiled in. The GNU C library is likewise huge, nearly twice the size of the comparable BSD C library. But the most egregious offender in this area, the reigning champ of bloat, is the X Window System."

This ZDNet article starts off on Microsoft, but skip to the bottom for a fun historical tidbit on our friend, Jon "Maddog" Hall. "Swaying back again: If you've paid any attention to the Linux arena, you've spotted one Jon "Maddog" Hall, executive director of Linux International, a group that promotes Linux. How did this hulking, bearded and bespectacled fellow get his nickname? Does he foam at the mouth? Does he bark? No, but this seemingly taciturn soul does have a temper."

Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol

July 20, 2000


 Main page
 Linux in the news
 Back page

See also: last week's Announcements page.



Adding a Second Hard Drive to Linux (GNULinux). This article gives step-by-step instructions for adding a hard drive to a Linux system.


Forum2000. The Santa Cruz Operation, Inc. announced Forum2000 where attendees will learn about the e-Xtreme application reach of Tarantella web-enabling software, the e-Xtreme uptime offered by Clustering software, and the e-Xtreme scalability of IA-64 server systems. Santa Cruz, California. August 20-23, 2000.

Wireless Developer Seminar. WirelessDevNet.com (The Wireless Developer Network) and CTIA (The Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association) have joined forces to present the first annual Wireless Developer Seminar on Sunday, October 15, 2000.

Call for Papers: 2nd Embedded Linux Expo & Conference. The RTC Group and LinuxDevices.com, cosponsors of the Embedded Linux Expo & Conference (ELEC), announced the call for papers for the second ELEC technical conference to be held on Friday, October 27th at the Wyndham Westborough Hotel, 5400 Computer Drive, Westborough, Mass.

Overview of ApacheCon Europe 2000. In preparation for the ApacheCon Europe 2000, (coming in October) here's a document which provides an insight into the open-source culture and community as well as highlights on Apache projects.

Wireless DevCon 2000. SYS-CON Media and Camelot Communications announced Wireless DevCon 2000, to be presented December 3-5, 2000, at the Doubletree Hotel in San Jose, CA.

O'Reilly conference: Dennis Tenney reports. Dennis Tenney has sent in a brief report from Day 1 of the O'Reilly Open Source conference this week:

Today I attended David Beazley's Advanced Python tutorial. It was a fun tour of neat stuff he noticed while writing his last book. David provided dozens of useful tidbits about Python modules I'd used before. LWN reviewed David Beazley's latest book, the Python Essential Reference, last November.

Tomorrow will be a full Zope day for me. Cammie Noah reports that the registration count for the conference so far is at 1761.

O'Reilly conference: Dennis Tenney reports (Day 2). Dennis Tenney sent in another brief report from his second day at the O'Reilly Open Source conference:

Today at the O'Reilly conference was my first day of (formal) Zope training. The morning offered Christopher Petrilli's Zope for Developers tutorial. Christopher's tutorial offered a wealth of detailed information and a peek at some of the "coolness" added with the recent release of Zope 2.2. Security and online help both took a significant step forward.

Tomorrow, the non-tutorial talks will begin with a keynote address by Andy Hertzfeld.

Web sites

LuteLinux.com wins award. LuteLinux.com has been voted site of the month by InternetBrothers.com, in the Helpware and Community category.

DevelopVNC website. Tridia Corporation announced the launch of www.developvnc.org at the O'Reilly Open Source conference. "Dedicated to the virtual network computing (VNC) developer community, www.developvnc.org offers free resources, assistance, and encouragement to further VNC development activities." Tridia also announced the launch of a sister site, TridiaVNC.

zoggle.com - Created By Teens For Teens. zoggle.com, a teen-oriented site created to empower teens with financial freedom and an open forum for their opinions, announced its launch. "zoggle.com provides the best-in-class open-source platform designed to entertain, educate and financially empower teens."

User Group News

Central Ohio Linux Users Group Meeting. COLUG will meet on Wednesday, July 26th. Jim Wildman will present a Vortex Linux system firewalling between a public and private net side. Phil Hunter will bring along a sniffer box, and demonstrate the ease with which passwords may be taken 'off the wire'.

Simi-Conejo Linux Users Group's LUGFest III. As with most good parties, the Simi-Conejo Linux Users Group's LUGFest III started with an idea. The event, now in its third incarnation, is slated for October 28 at Nortel Networks, in Simi Valley, Calif., and the call is out for demonstrations.

July 20, 2000



Software Announcements

Package Version Description
AdaBroker 1.0pre3 A full Ada CORBA implementation.
aewm 0.9.11 A minimalistic window manager for X
Alamin GSM SMS Gateway 0.3.2 An SMS to SMTP/GSGNP gateway and client program to send SMS from an IP client.
Apache::ASP 2.00 Active Server Pages port to Apache, using Perl.
Ari's Yahoo Client 1.6 A text-based Yahoo! Messenger client.
aumix 2.7 Color text mode sound mixer with GPM support
Battstat applet 2.0.4 A battery status applet for GNOME.
BDAY - A Birthday Reminder 0.1 Reminds you of upcoming birthdays by sending you an email.
beecrypt 1.0.2 A cryptography library.
BibleReader 0.3 Bible browsing program using Gtk
Big Brother 1.4h2 Highly efficient network monitor
Bind 9.0.0rc1 Berkeley Internet Name Domain
BinDumper A binary/hex file dumper; human-readable output of binary files.
Bluetail Ticket Tracker 2.0 A workflow management tool.
bonnie++ 1.00a Hard drive/filesystem benchmark program.
bookmarker 2.6.0 WWW based bookmark manager
brag 1.0.8 Download and assemble multipart binaries from newsgroups.
Bronc 0.60 An extensible front-end to RRDtool.
Build Your Linux Disk 1.0beta2 Package that helps you to build a floppy Linux distribution.
Cacheability Engine 1.30 CGI/command line script to check Web page cacheability
Calendars for the Web 2.0.0 A server-based calender and scheduling application.
capircvd 0.2.30 Receive fax/voice with CAPI and AVM B1.
capsel 1.5.4 A Linux kernel 2.2.x security module.
CD_Aud 1.32 A CD-ROM audio-playing class for C++.
CGI::Application 1.1 Framework for building reusable CGI web-applications in Perl
cgi_buffer 0.2 Library to offer persistent connections, compression and validation
checkout 2.0 Allows checking in/out from your desk with a reason.
Chessy 0.3 An Internet Chess Club interface for KDE.
Ciao Prolog 1.6 An advanced constraint logic programming environment.
CodeCommander 0.9.6 Multi language programming IDE.
Compact LinuX A compact Linux distribution.
CompTest 1.1c A test and verification suite for the TCL compiler.
CompWork 1.1c TCL compiler.
Conic Planet 1.2 Planet rendering CGI application.
cop 0.5 Simple generation of <body> tags for Web sites.
CoreLinux++ 0.4.25 A set of C++ class libraries to support common patterns in software development.
Crash Recovery Kit for Linux 2.2.13 A crash recovery kit for Linux.
Cryptix 20000609 Strong cryptography for Java
Ctami 0.1.0 Console Client for Tami.
CustomDNS 0.4 Modular DNS with a database backend.
cvsq A CVS wrapper for use with a dial-up connection.
cvsweb 1.90 A visual (www) interface to explore a CVS repository
DBA Companion 0.2 An Oracle data dictionary browser.
DG Printer Setup 2.0.1 Printer installation and configuration tool for Caldera OpenLinux.
Diablo 2.3 Fast and efficient NNTP newsfeeder software
DNews 5.4f3 Advanced news server software NNTP Software
DocWiz 0.66 A GUI tool for developing Javadoc documentation
drawmap A cartography package for Linux.
dwun 0.9-pre3 Controls PPP link by client requests for connection
e93 A portable window-based text editor oriented to the needs of programmers.
EasyTAG 0.9.3 A utility for tagging MP3 files.
ECLiPt Roaster 2.0b5 GTK Interface to MkIsoFs and CDRecord for writing CDs on the fly
eglade 0.3.5 An Eiffel code generator that parses XML files produced by Glade.
eGTK 0.3.5 Bindings to GTK+ widget toolkit for Eiffel.
EJBWizard 2.1.1 Java GUI app to generate EJBs for the JOnAS system.
EPIC 4-0.9.0 An ANSI-capable textmode IRC client.
etach 1.1.3 An Emacs extension for MIME email attachments.
Ethernet TAP driver 1.0 Ethernet TAP driver for FreeBSD
eThreads 1.2 Highly customizable database driven forum software
EXG 0.9 An Eiffel-Gtk+ wrapping; extension of eiffel-gtk
EyB Web interface for administration and modification of databases.
FancyLauncher 0.10 A program launcher with an integrated clock and a POP3 mail checker.
fbi 1.3-sb1 Image viewer for fbdev
fBuilder 2.0 fBuilder is a Web-based utility for building and configuring a Linux firewall.
FemFind 0.70 SMB and FTP crawler/search engine.
fetchmail 5.4.3 A free, full-featured, robust, well-documented remote-mail retrieval utility.
FIASCO! 1.1 A fractal image and video compression system for low bit-rates.
filedb 0.3 A file organizing tool for CDs.
Finance::Quote 1.00 Perl module to fetch stock quotes from American, European and Australian markets
Firestarter 0.3.0 Firewall creation/monitoring tool
Free Pascal Compiler 1.00 Turbo Pascal 7.0 and Delphi II compatible 32bit Pascal Compiler
Free Standard Game Server 0.7b122 Battle.net-compatible game server
freshupdate 01.b Display freshmeat news in the root window
Frost 0.6.0 C++ multi-method support.
Funbot 2.0.0pre1 Modular Perl bot for IRC
gAcc 0.7.2 A personal accounts manager.
gaim 0.9.20 GTK based AOL Instant Messenger
Galeon 0.7 A GNOME Web browser.
Game Boy Catalog / Launcher 0.4 An application to handle Gameboy ROMs and configure/run VGB for any of these.
gcdb 0.2 A PHP graphical frontend to a MySQL database.
gcombust 0.1.34 A GTK+ frontend for mkisofs and cdrecord.
GDancer 0.3.0 A dancing Space Ghost XMMS plugin.
gdpc 2.00pre1 Visualisation tools for molecular dynamic simulations.
gdun A GTK+ dial-up networking suite for PPP connections.
GeneWeb A genealogy program with a Web interface.
Gentry 0.1.5 GTK application for data entry into a MySQL database
Getleft 0.8.7 Tcl/Tk site grabber powered by Curl
GimmeCookie 0.93 Script to protect a site behind a disclaimer.
gimp-print 3.1.9 Print plug-in for the GIMP and GhostScript driver for Epson printers.
gladepyc 0.0 Generates low-level pygtk/Python code from Glade XML files.
GlobeCom Jukebox 3.2final2 Music jukebox with integrated CDDB aware ripping and groupware functionality
Glrcsim OpenGL Radio controlled flight sim.
GNOME Stock Ticker A scrolling stock ticker applet for the GNOME panel.
gnome-find 1.0.1 An easy-to-use GUI of find.
gnomerar 0.4.2 A GUI frontend to rar.
GnoZip 0.1.0 A WinZip-like compression utilities frontend for GNOME.
GNU Parted 1.2.5 A partition editor, for creating, destroying, resizing and copying partitions.
GNU xhippo 2.2 Gtk-based playlist manager for various UNIX sound players
go-moku 1.0 Console based Networked GO-MOKU aka Five in row game.
GotMail 0.6 A Perl script to fetch mail from a HotMail account.
gpsd Listens to a GPS and provides clients with the data.
Gronk 0.6 A Web-based MP3 jukebox.
Gtk Theme Switch 0.2 A GTK theme-switching utility.
GTK+XFce 3.4.4 Easy-to-use and easy-to-configure environment for X11
GtkHTML An HTML rendering/editing library.
gtv A program for looking up German television shows.
gxhost 0.8.2 GTK xhost interface
Hackers 0.2.0 NetHack character manager
Half-life Admin MOD A plugin mod to Half-Life.
Handy Calc 1.0 Simple command-line calculator with binary operations.
HardDrake project 0.9 Tools for hardware configuration
hc-cron A modified version of Paul Vixie's widely used cron daemon
HexBC 0.1 A tool for evaluating mathematical expressions written in hexadecimal.
hi 2.0-1 Console-based binary editor.
hostup 0.0.5 Remote host update utility
ht://Check 1.1.0b1-utero A link checker that gets information through HTTP/1.1 and stores in a MySQL db.
HTML Forms generation and validation PHP class to dynamically generate and validate HTML forms.
HTML::Embperl 1.3b4 Embed Perl into HTML Pages with a lot of features especialy for dynamic webpage
HtmlHeadLine.sh 10.3 Script that automatically fetches news headlines.
htmlshell 0.1 Offline HTM preprocessor to include shell-commands in your html
Hu-Go! 1.27 A PC engine emulator.
i4lctrl 0.6.7 An isdn4linux monitor and config tool for Webmin.
IA 2.05 A little AI program.
interdiff 0.0.1 Create incremental patch from two against a common source.
IP Filter 3.4.7 TCP/IP packet filter
IPchains Firewalling Module for Webmin 0.80.3 A Webmin module for configuring an IP Firewall based on IPchains.
iptables 1.1.1 A Linux kernel packet control tool.
IPW 0.11 Repasswords and mails user on systems where email is forwarded.
j 0.4.3 A programmer's editor written in Java.
jaga 20000716-12 A Java genetic algorithm package.
Java Bomberman 13.jul.2000 A multiplayer game for Java.
Java getopt s 0.3 Command-line parsing library for Java.
Java Napster 0.75c Java GUI clone of the Napster client for downloading MP3s.
JEsd 0.0.5 A re-implementation of EsounD in pure Java.
Jetty 3.0.A97 HTTP/1.1 Servlet server written in Java
JFS for Linux 0.0.9 The IBM JFS source code.
JLJ 1.3 A text-only LiveJournal.com client.
JStdio A Java implementation of C's stdio.
jtodo 1.0 Simple Perl program to help organize a todo list.
Juggle 0.1.1 A multithreaded file transfer program for Java 2.
Karchiveur 2.0pre4 A little archiver for KDE, like ark but more powerful
KDE-ChIP 0.1 A fractal program.
kftp 0.6.1 A KDE FTP client.
Kmap 0.7.2 Nmap port-scanner frontend for QT/KDE
KNatalie/libnatl A network audio tuning language (NATL) parser.
Komba 0.3.0 Samba share browser
Krusader M2 Twin-panel file manger for KDE 2.
Ksetiwatch 0.5.2 SETI@home monitor and work unit manager
KUnit 0.4.1 Unit converter
KWaves 1.0beta A sound mixing application.
KWC 0.1 A key width calculator.
larswm 5.0 A tiling window manager built on 9wm.
LCDproc clients for distributed.net 1.1 Two LCDproc clients to display stats from distributed.net clients or proxies
Leafnode 1.9.14 NNTP server for small leaf sites
LFP Fixed Width X Fonts 0.81 Fixed-width fonts for X.
LFP Variable Width X Fonts 0.81 Variable-width fonts for X.
libAstronomy 0.1.5 A library with a set of astronomical routines.
libbgrab & webcam 2.1f bttv framegrabber library + webcam application
libhml 0.1 A progression bar C library.
LibLp 0.1 A library to send and receive data to a parallel port under Linux
libnids 1.14 IP defragmentation TCP segment reassembly library
libnode 1.0.1 Small library for vectors (automatically resizing arrays) and other miscellany
libpcap A system-independent interface for user-level packet capture.
libsite-db-perl 0.1a Easy-to-use database access with one-line data retrieval options.
libsqlora8 2.0.1 A simple C library to access Oracle databases.
Lilo 21.5 Linux boot loader
LSB-VSX 1.0-1 The LSB Core test suite for POSIX.1
LXPoint 1.4.03-2 Point setup for fidonet.
Mailbrowser 0.4.0 A tool/tunnel for browsing the Web using email.
Mailman 2.0beta4 Mailing list manager with built in web access
MailOne 3.1 Mail server supporting multiple standards and clients
Mailreader 2.3.20 Web-based POP-compatible email client.
maketool 0.6.1 GTK front end for GNU make
mcfeely 3.37 fault-tolerant, asynchronous, ordered remote job execution
MCgi 0.1 A C++ CGI class.
mergetrees 0.9.1 Three-way merge of directory trees
MersenneTwister 0.2 A C++ random number generator class.
MFMail 0.4.0 A command-line multiple file mail in Python.
MIKU 1.0 A program to send short mail notes via ordinary POP/SMTP.
MiniGUI 0.3.04 A mini-GUI support library on the Linux console for embedded systems.
MinML 0.5 A small XML parser.
MLton 20000712 optimizing compiler for Standard ML
ModLogAn 0.4.3 A modular logfile analyzer.
modplug-xmms 1.3 A ModPlug player plugin for XMMS.
modutils 2.3.12 Linux module utilities
mod_log_spread 1.0.2 Patch to mod_log_config to allow logging to multicast groups.
mod_radius_auth.c 1.3.9 A RADIUS authentication module for the Apache web server.
mod_relocate 1.0 An Apache module for logging click-through trails.
Monsoon 0.1.1 A JFC todo list application.
moodss 8.21 Modular Object Oriented Dynamic SpreadSheet
moof mp3 player on one floppy
Motif Launcher v0.1.6 Application Launcher for Motif-MWM or Lesstif-MWM.
MP3Master A Web-based MP3 jukebox with ID3 tag support.
mpatrol 1.2.6 A library for controlling and tracing dynamic memory allocations.
MpegOrion 1.1.0 Free mpeg player for linux
mrtg 2.9.0pre6b Multi Router Traffic Grapher
Mserv 0.33 A centralised local music server for MP3s.
mtv 1.1.4 A realtime MPEG Video+Audio player
MyNews 2.0 A weblog for sectioned news items.
myPACS 0.11 Web-based medical image management system.
myPHPCalendar 07172000 Build 1 A Web-based PHP calendar.
MySQL Navigator 0.3.2 MySQL database server client program
nbsmtp 0.6 A config-free simple SMTP sender.
ncp 1.1 Copy files (and URLs) quickly inside your LAN.
NeoMail A Web-based interface to user mail spools on a system.
neon 0.3.0 HTTP and WebDAV client library
netload_applet 0.1.0 A GNOME network load applet.
NetStream2000 Linux Driver Beta 11 MPEG-2 decoder driver and DVD player.
NetTraf 1.3.1 Network traffic monitor
Network Audio Tuning Language DTD An XML document type for describing properties about audio streams.
Network UPS Tools 0.44.0-pre4 Multiple vendor (APC, Powercom) UPS monitoring software.
newq Snarfs realtime quotes from datek to display on the console.
news-stat News-stat 0.1 Extracts statistics from news posts.
NewsCache 0.99.17 Free high-end caching news server
nl.hen.ict Java Package 1.0 A Java package providing a hook to Unix system calls and more.
nodupmail 0.1.3 Prevents or limits duplicate mail messages
Number Theoretic bc 0.11 A fast prototyping scripting language for use in number-theoretic applications.
Numtobin 0.1 Converts decimal (integer or floating-point) numbers to binary.
NUNE News Script 1.5a Yet another news script featuring Web-based posting and admin.
nVidia XFree86_40 Drivers 0.9-4 nVidia XFree86 4.0 Drivers.
Obsequieuem 0.3.0 Network based MP3 RTP/multicast streaming jukebox
oCADis 2D CAD program
ODBCmap 0.1.1 Enables sendmail to use an ODBC resource as a lookup map.
okChat A java chat system.
omniORB 3.0.0 A robust, high-performance CORBA 2 ORB
omniORBpy 1.0 CORBA ORB for Python
OpenMotif 2.1.30pl5 The traditional X11 GUI Toolkit for Unix.
OpenRPG 0.4.2a An online role-playing application.
OpenSSH Unix Port 2.1.1p4 Port of OpenBSD's free SSH release to Linux
OSS 3.9.3n Provides sound card drivers for most popular sound cards under Linux
OzGIS 13.0 OzGIS Mapping System
PACT 0.9b SNMP accounting tool.
Pad 1.0 Command-line utility to perform PAD encryption/decryption.
Paloma 0.84a Relational music/mp3 database system
pam_authtoken 0.1 Tool to pass a PAM authtoken to other applications.
pam_radius_auth.c 1.3.10 A RADIUS authentication module for PAM.
Pango 0.12 An Open Source framework for the layoutand rendering of international text.
Paralogger 0.90 Script to ease the process of setting up a root tail window
passwdGen - random password generator 1.01 A console-based random password generator.
pdmp3 1.4.0 MP3 ID3 tag editor for GNOME.
Perl-RPM 0.26 Perl bindings for the rpm 3.0.X API.
perlMrtgCfg 1.1 Web-based MRTG configuration utility.
permute 1.0 Generates all possible permutations of lines from stdin.
pgpenvelope 2.8.10 GPG/PGP5 filter for Pine
photoarchive 1.0 A personal RDBMS-backed photo archive.
phpGroupWare A Web-based software suite.
PHPLIB 7.2c Web Application Development Package for the PHP language
PHPoll 1.0 PHP script to run polls on websites with a custom look.
phpShop 0.4.5 A simple and powerful PHP E-Commerce solution for B2C and B2B.
phpWebLog A weblog/news site framework written in PHP.
PhpWiki 1.1.7 A WikiWikiWeb clone written in PHP.
PHPXref 0.1.1 A utility for cross-referencing PHP scripts and extracting inline documentation.
pi-address 0.4.0 X11 based Address Manager for Palm Pilot Address DB
PicMonger 0.9.6 Scans Usenet newsgroups for UU- or MIME-encoded binaries and decodes them.
pimp3 An intelligent MP3 player which lets you rate songs.
PingOO ISDN Router An ISDN mini-distribution to transform a computer in an ISDN router.
Pingus 0.4.0 Lemmings clone with penguins.
pip 0.2.1 Make any program a filter.
Pliant 41 Efficient and extendable programming language
pngcrush 1.4.7 An optimizer for PNG files that can also insert or delete specified chunks.
PPR 1.41a1
PresTiMeL 0.10 A tool to create HTML presentations.
procps 2.0.7 A package of utilities which report on the state of the system
Pronto! 1.2.1 A full-featured Perl/GTK+ mail client.
Psunami Bulletin Board 0.2.1 A threaded Internet bulletin board.
pyftpd 0.6 An FTP daemon written in Python.
pyle 0.2.0 A WikiClone.
QHacc 0.5.3 A personal finance application.
QmailAdmin 0.32 Web based interface for Qmail Administration
Qpopper 3.1b5 A POP3 server.
QUB 0.4.5 A front-end for playing any boardgame on your computer.
Quick and Dirty Packet Forwarder 1.00 A TCP packet forwarding proxy.
Quick&Easy Configuration Howto 1.2 An Italian guide to quick and easy configuration of a Linux box.
radiodj A video4linux GTK+ radio tuner.
Randomposer 0.2.6 Composes some silly music.
rawview 1.0 A raw data graphics viewer.
rc.firewall 3.3 Firewall script with support for numerous services.
rep-gtk A binding of the GTK+ and GDK libraries for the librep Lisp environment.
Replicator 1.5pre3 Automatic replication of a Debian GNU/Linux installation.
ResCafé 1.2.5 Mac Resource Fork reader written in Swing Java
Resource Standard Metrics Performs metrics and quality checks on C, C++, and Java sourcecode.
REXEC 1.1 A secure, decentralized remote execution environment for clusters.
rfbplaymacro 0.1.2 VNC session scripting program.
rfbproxy 0.4.0 A VNC session record/playback program.
rip 0.40 A console-based front-end to cdparanoia and bladeenc that rips CD tracks to MP3.
Riscose 0.01 A high-level RISC OS emulator for Linux.
ROCK Linux 1.3.10 Linux Distribution for high skilled Linux User and Admins
routeplanner 0.3 Highway trip planner
rp-pppoe 2.0 A user-mode PPPoE client.
rpc 0.41 A full-screen console-based RPN calculator application.
SableVM 0.1.4 A Java virtual machine in C for GNU/Linux.
samhain 0.8 A distributed host integrity monitoring system.
Sangoma Frame Relay Drivers for OpenBSD 2.6/2.7 1.1.0 Sangoma T1/CSUDSU drivers for OpenBSD 2.7/2.6.
ScanErrLog 1.3 Apache Error_Log parser and presenter.
scriptbrowse 0.1 A script language for HTML browsing.
ScryMUD 2.1.1 Original MUD Server and Java Client
SDLRoids 1.3.2 SDLRoids - an enhanced shoot-the-asteroids game.
Sdx11 0.5 chosse your windowmanager form the console
SearchForms 0.5 SearchForms is a modular system for creating HTML forms that can generate SQL
senso 1.0 A little game just to have fun.
setrage 0.3 XFree86 4.x Configuration Program
sgalaAlive 0.1 Checks the running of a pool of processes and turns them on if they are down.
shipd 0.001 A shipping server for the Minivend shopping cart.
shThemes 1.0.1 GTK theme selector
SIDPLAY 1.36.43 C64 music player and SID sound chip emulator
sig_maker.pl 0.1 Random signature generator, written in Perl.
SILC 19072000 Secure Internet Live Conferencing.
SIPS 0.2.4 A PHP-based Weblog system with no need for a database server.
Sire 2.3D Build Utility similar to make.
Site Size 0.1.0 Perl script which calculates space used on a Web or FTP server.
SlackReiser 4 Disks for installing Slackware onto a ReiserFS partition.
SmallEiffel -0.76 beta4 07/18/2000 The GNU Eiffel Compiler
smbfs-mounter 0.1 Tool to use pam_authtoken and mount smb-shares.
sms-mail 1.3.1 An SMS message to email gateway.
sms-queue 0.1 An SMS queue handler.
smtm 1.1.2 A flexible Perl/Tk stock ticker and portfolio tool.
snortstart 0.11 a wrapper to snort that aims at install snort in a chroot jail
Soma 0.80 A Multithreaded HTTP/1.1 webserver written in Java.
Sphynx 2000.07 Development Library (API for MySQL, CGI, Semaphores, etc)
Spinsys 0.9 Streaming mp3 radio station written in php
SQL Abstraction Layer 0.5.1 An OO library for creating and manipulating SQL statements in PHP.
sqlxx 0.1 C++ classes for database access via ODBC.
Str 0.9.4 A generic string library.
strutilsxx 0.5 Useful additional C++ string processing functions
sunplasma 1.0.0 Three dimensional virtual fly-through landscape simulation.
SuperSlack Boot Linux from a SuperDisk.
TableMap 0.6.2 A Perl module mapping relational tables to hashes.
Tami 0.1.0 The X client for Tami.
Tami.D 0.1.0 The server module of a client-server interface to mpg123.
Tcpdump A tool for network monitoring and data acquisition. (requires libpcap!)
TestMatrix 0.45 A test-case database generation tool.
TeXmacs 0.2.5-8 W.Y.S.I.W.Y.G. technical text editor
tgi_perl An embedded Perl interprepreter for TGI Perl telephony under Bayonne.
the Anomy mail sanitizer 1.20 An efficient filter for sanitizing email messages.
The GNU Privacy Guard 1.0.2 GPLed PGP replacement tool
timbot 1.3 A simple C++ factoid-storing IRCbot.
TkMan 2.1 Final Graphical, hypertext manual page and Texinfo browser
tkmessage 0.3 A GUI frontend for xmessage.
ToolBot 0.2.2 An IRC bot for providing the features that IRC should've had in the first place.
TSE3 0.0.6 TSE3 is a powerful open source sequencer engine written in C++.
twin 0.3.3 A text-mode window manager and terminal emulator.
uCON64 1.9.2 The (ultimate) handheld/console/emulation tool with 70+ options.
UdmSearch 3.1.2 Fast WWW search engine for your site
UGrabCam Perl 0.01.BETA Webcam Archiving Bash Script
Ulm's Modula-2 System 3.0b8 Modula-2 compiler for SPARCv8 architectures, supporting PIM3
UltimateIRCd 2.8.1 Advanced IRC daemon based off the DAL DreamForge daemon with many new features.
UnrealIRCd 3.1 An IRC daemon with numerous new features and optimations.
User-mode Linux 0.27-2.4.0-test4 User-mode port of the Linux kernel
user-online 1.1 A php-script to track which users are currently 'online'.
userman 0.3 Script for managing user accounts.
Visual Python 0.1 GUI-enabled scripting for GNOME and KDE applications.
Voodoo Tracker 0.2.5 GNOME based tracker
wapstat Monitors a server and generates WML pages for WAP mobile phones.
WebNap A Web-based Napster client written entirely in PHP.
whatsnewfm 0.0.1 A filter for the Freshmeat newsletter.
Wine 20000716 Emulator of the Windows 3.x and Win32 APIs.
worldpilot 1.1.0alpha3 A Web-based personal organizer system with email.
Wrabbit FTPServer Alpha4 A Java-based FTP server.
wsproxy 0.5 A Web proxy written in Perl.
WTEST 4.0 Web application testing tool
X2 5.0.99 AfterNet's powerfull IRC channel services
Xarm 1.4.2 A C++ wrapper of the Motif and Xmext libraries.
XEmacs/GTK 21.1.10 beta 4 A version of XEmacs that uses the GTK widget set
XMail 0.56 An SMTP/POP3/popsync/finger server.
XML for SCRIPT 0.2 A simple, fast, non-validating XML parser, written in JavaScript.
xml2tree 0.2 A PHP4 class for reading/writing/editing/extracting XML objects.
xmlBlaster 0.78 An Open Source project for MOM (message oriented middleware).
XMLBoard 1.2.0 A multi-forum message board.
xmms-fc 0.5 A Future Composer plugin for XMMS.
XMultiGrab 20000717 An X frontend for cdda2wav.
Xplanet 0.72 An Xearth wannabe
XScreenSaver 3.25 Modular screen saver and locker for the X WindowSystem
xtermset 0.5 Changes xterm title, font, colors and size from the command line
YPLib 0.3 YPLib is Your Personal Library reminds you to return books to your library.
Zope 2.2.0 Web application platform used for building high-performance, dynamic web sites.
ZThread 1.0.1 Advanced object-oriented, platform-independant threading library.
ZZplayer 0.5 An MPEG-I video player.

Our software announcements are provided courtesy of FreshMeat


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Linux Links of the Week

Looking for goodies for your Zope server? A new site, Zope Treasures, has pulled together a collection of DTML stripts, external methods, and other Zope resources into a searchable database. Readers can also contribute their own ratings.

Galeon is a smallish web browser built on the Gecko engine. We can't describe it any better than this NTK article did, which is where we found it... "The beauty of Open Source, though, is that say you *could* do without Mozilla's built-in WYSIWIG HTML editor, Mail handler, News reader, IRC client, xterm replacement, run-time XML UI interpreter, cross-platform high-level C++ widget set, and re-implementation from scratch of Microsoft's entire COM system, you can. And, thank God, someone has."

Section Editor: Jon Corbet

July 20, 2000



This week in history

Two years ago.(July 23rd, 1998).

Oracle announced support for Linux. They were one of many big database vendors to do so in 1998. At this point, all of the major databases run on Linux. However, Oracle is now considered the major database player for websites. Perhaps it maintained its position partially out of its early support for Linux.

Linus made clear his position that 4MB machines would no longer be a development priority or interest for the 2.1.X development tree. Nowadays, finding a PC with only 4MB of memory might be difficult. Even projects such as TINY Linux, which is designed especially for old, recycled computers, requires at least 8MB (but still supports the i386 chip).

One year ago.(July 22, 1999).

Red Hat announced its community stock offering. At the time, its efforts were viewed with suspicion; was this just an effort to get more people to buy stock and therefore drive up the price? After all, no one knew for sure but that the IPO would fail and the stock end up worth less at the end of the day than at the beginning.

In addition, their list got put together hurriedly and under time pressure and left off a lot of important contributors. Nonetheless, in the long run, a lot of people made a little bit of unexpected money as a result and the offering set a precedent for including the community that was later followed by the VALinux and Caldera IPOs. None of them went perfectly or smoothly, but again, at least some people got an unexpected bonus for the work they had done gratis for so long.

On a slightly different note, Red Hat unveiled more of its IPO plans, including a major investment in developing their 'web portal'. Plans included the hiring of over 20 people, setting up their own news service and much more. Of course, nowadays most of that has gone by the wayside and Red Hat is looking in much different fields (such as embedded Linux) for new revenue models.



Letters to the editor

Letters to the editor should be sent to letters@lwn.net. Preference will be given to letters which are short, to the point, and well written. If you want your email address "anti-spammed" in some way please be sure to let us know. We do not have a policy against anonymous letters, but we will be reluctant to include them.
Date: Sun, 16 Jul 2000 17:50:38 -0400
From: Christopher Wong <cwong@world.std.com>
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: Going beyond skin deep

Chad Simonds in his Tucows article
(http://news.tucows.com/ext2/00/07/articles/ext207112000.shtml) thinks
that some Linux reviews were bought. As many distributions also provide
commercial software along with the free stuff, this may be
possible. However, I wonder if the real problem is the reviewers'
unwillingness to go beyond what is skin deep. Too many reviews spend too
much time covering the latest graphical install, and little or no time
evaluating quality and stability. When Mandrake 7 was released, for
example, there were tons of positive reviews focusing on its new GUI
installer and configuration tools. None covered the bugs that I hit,
such as the long-broken XEmacs info system, the ftape driver that did
not load correctly and the Mandrake Security script that could (and did)
wipe out my /etc/inittab. 

I realize that it is easier to cover the more glitzy aspects of a Linux
distribution than to actually sit down and use a distribution at
length. I also understand that web-reviews often strive to be timely and
fast. Nevertheless, I believe that such superficial reviews do the Linux
community a disservice in praising only the glitter and eliminating any
incentive to fix basic bugs.

Speaking of skin deep, Leon Brooks' letter could use a little more
historical integrity. He wrote of a John Tetzel who allegedly sold an
indulgence for a future crime later committed against himself,
surrendering his right to persecute. According to the online Catholic
Encyclopedia, a John Tetzel did indeed exist, and did some unfortunate
things, but there is no historical basis for the story that Brooks
related. The doctrinal confusion displayed -- in fact a Catholic
indulgence cannot apply to future offenses, cannot be given to someone
unrepentant, and does not remit civil penalties -- suggests that this
tale is a caricature fabricated in the heat of the Protestant
Reformation. Brooks does not help his case by uncritically repeating old
anti-Catholic polemics.

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